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The Journal Gazette

Saturday, February 10, 2018 6:30 pm

No. 4 Michigan State 68, No. 3 Purdue 65: Quick thoughts

DYLAN SINN | The Journal Gazette

How it Happened

Purdue (23-4, 12-2 Big Ten) got off to a hot start, playing with good energy on defense in the early going and taking a 9-2 lead that subdued the raucous Breslin Center crowd. The Boilermakers forced a couple of early Spartan turnovers and limited Michigan State's opportunities to get out in transition, especially in the first few minutes.

The Boilermakers shot particularly well from beyond the arc in the early going, hitting five of their first 10 3-pointers, including back-to-back 3s from Carsen Edwards and P.J. Thompson that gave the visitors a 25-16 advantage with 7:44 to go in the first half.

Michigan State (24-3, 12-2) was on its heels at that point, but responded by picking up its intensity on defense. The Spartans seemingly flipped a switch and began making everything difficult for the Boilermakers, who went scoreless for over three minutes and missed nine of 10 shots from the field. During that drought, Michigan State ripped off an 8-0 run to trim its deficit to just one. All four baskets during the run were layups or dunks.

Before the half ended, however, Purdue found its footing again. Carsen Edwards hit a 3 to break the run, and then Matt Haarms put together a mini-spurt of his own. The freshman big man dunked the ball after executing a perfect backdoor cut to the hoop, and then followed it up by hitting a left-handed jump hook off the glass. The latter gave Purdue its biggest lead of the half at 36-26 as the Boilermakers went into the locker room at halftime leading 36-31.

One of the most important stats from the first half was the zero for Purdue in the turnover column. The Boilers turned the ball over 12 times against Ohio State, including several that were the result of bobbled passes or 50/50 balls that went the Buckeyes' way. Purdue didn't give the ball away against MSU until 9:55 remained in the second half and held a 7-0 advantage in points off turnovers at the break. 

Purdue opened the second half trying to get the ball to big man Isaac Haas on every single possession. Haas had no trouble overpowering Gavin Schilling down low and scored seven points in the first four minutes of the half, helping Purdue build its lead to 46-38. One of Haas' baskets in this stretch was a particularly feathery fadeaway jumper that he made despite a foul.

The Boilers continued to lead as the second half wore on, but Michigan State remained close. Guard Matt McQuaid hit two 3's in quick succession to bring the Spartans within two at 53-51, the closest they'd been in the second half. Carsen Edwards stemmed the tide with a driving layup that gave his team a four-point advantage with 11:07 left.

Out of the timeout, however, the Spartans kept coming. Michigan State ripped off a 6-0 run to take its first lead of the game with 8:58 to play. The run included a nice dish from point guard Cassius Winston to Kenny Goins inside, Winston's seventh assist of the night. The Boilers called timeout trailing 57-55.

Purdue continued to feed the ball to Haas down low and he broke a nearly five-minute Boilermaker scoring drought with one of his most powerful moves of the night for a layup. On the next possession, he hit a jumper, giving him 21 points for the game and knotting the score at 59 with 5:23 to go.

The score was still tied several minutes later when Joshua Langford got the ball in the post, with Matt Haarms at his back. Langford faked one way and then scored around Haarms to give the Spartans a 63-61 advantage with less than two minutes remaining. Haas immediately scored on the other end to even the score and then scored again to put Purdue in front.

With Michigan State's back to the wall, Kenny Goins made a key jumper off another assist from Winston. When Haas missed, the Spartans had the last shot with 20 seconds to go. On that possession, the ball went to Bridges at the top of the key. He waited and then launched a 3 from several feet behind the line. The ball curled in and Purdue had been beaten in the final moments for a second game in a row.

Player of the Game: Miles Bridges

In addition to hitting the game-winning shot, Bridges was the Spartans leading scorer and made nearly every big play for the victors. He finished with 20 points on 9-for-14 shooting, including 11 in the second half. He also grabbed three rebounds and only turned the ball over once. 

Facts & figures

The loss is the Boilermakers' first in a true road game this season. They're now 7-1 in those games. ... Purdue has not won on the road against a Top 5 opponent since 1994. ... The Boilers are 3-2 against Top 25 teams this season. ... Haas led the Boilers with 25 points on 12-for-22 shooting. ... Winston posted a double-double with 10 points and 10 assists. It's fourth double-double of the season and second in the last four games. ...Jaren Jackson Jr. entered the game third in the nation in blocks per game 3.5 but swatted just one Purdue shot. ... The Boilers were outrebounded for the eighth straight game, 37-34. ... The Spartans are the first team in the country to reach 24 wins this season. ... Purdue had just three turnovers and held a 7-2 advantage in points off giveaways.

What's next?

The Boilermakers are back in action Friday at the Kohl Center in Madison, Wisconsin to take on the Badgers (11-15, 4-9). The game will tip off at 7 p.m. and is on ESPN. Those two teams already met in Mackey Arena on Jan. 16, and Purdue won easily, 78-50. Carsen Edwards had 21 points in that game, while Vincent Edwards had 20, and the Boilers shot 63.6 percent from beyond the arc.